Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Review of "The Slender Man" by Simon John Cox

Story Overview:

Adam Bradford is eating his breakfast in peace when he receives some unusual texts from his estranged sister. Within minutes the police are on the phone telling him his sister is missing. While trying to help the police in locating; Adam discovers his sister has been researching a creature that is unknown to science; The Slender Man. Is it this creature that is responsible for her disappearance or something normal? And will whatever has his sister come back for more?

Cover Page: 18/20

The cover of this book is rather chilling to the bone. As with most of the great monster horror genre, the best images are ones that don’t directly show the creature. This leaves the readers mind completely free to imagine it when they are reading the book and not spoiling any plots that maybe important later on. It is a shame that on the Kindle that the cover is not so well shown. But that is the limitation of the device and by this point the reader already has bought the book and had chance to appreciate the artwork.

Character (and their development): 10/20

The story centres upon one character with little interaction between him and other individuals. I was unable to relate to the main character. I couldn’t see why he left out details to the police, such as the three mysterious text messages he had in the morning or information at his sister’s house. Nor could I understand why he would allow a complete stranger straight into his sister’s house and then allow him almost free reign. There also seemed to be a complete lack of mourning for his sister or any kind of worry. I realised that it was established early on that they didn’t exactly get on, but I still would have thought some more emotional response to her disappearance and revelation of her fate would have had some effect on him.

I also didn’t particularly feel that the police officer was realistic. He seemed almost non-interested in the case and was going through the motions with the main character.

However what I thought was very good was the antagonist. The Slender Man was very well conceived and depicted excellently. I didn’t exactly understand his motives, but I think that adds to the horror of the story, that you don’t understand what is going on in its mind.

Storyline: 7/20

The storyline in its basic concept is classic: A loved one goes unexpectedly missing and someone goes looking for them. It is a great story that can win time and time again. However “The Slender Man” in my opinion is a story in which certain elements were missing or events didn’t seem to add up. For instance at the beginning of the book Adam doesn’t tell the police officer that he had received the three texts that morning from his sister, with little plausible explanation as to why. There is also the question as to the police investigation. I don’t understand why his sister’s house wasn’t searched for clues and how Adam was left in it without a police liaison officer with him or nearby.

For me at times I was asking a lot of questions on why wasn’t this done, why wasn’t that looked into and where is everyone? And it is that which tainted the plot for me.

Style: 8/20

The style has a mixed bag. On the one hand the final sequence is beautiful in the fact that it raises the tensions and the hairs on the back of the neck. But the rest of the novella was something that I found hard to read. Written from the first person the book concentrates on what seems at times as “I did...”or “I was...”. In one paragraph there were 5 or 6 sentences which carried variances of “I did...”. This left the storyline more like a list of activities than a description of events. To quote a famous author: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass” (Anton Checkov; 1860 –1904).

To be fair to the author, the first person perspective on anything longer than a short story is incredibly hard to get right. And I know that from my own writing and tough discussions from my editors. I think that if this had been done in third person then the whole novella would have been improved.

Spelling and Grammar: 15/20

While there were no spelling mistakes, the problems that plagued the style section above also made the grammar seem a little off.

Conclusion: 58/100

“The Slender Man” does have its positives. It has a great concept and a fresh new antagonist which is well thought out and portrayed brilliantly. Plus to the author’s credit he kept it sufficiently hidden until the final sequences that you will feel a little ice in your blood at the thought. I can think of several authors who would have let temptation get the better of them and reveal the monster too soon. But unfortunately I was left asking more questions than I had answers for and the repetitive use of “I...” left me struggling to read fluently through the novella. If you like a good monster and don’t mind this style of writing, then you may wish to give this a try. Otherwise you probably won’t.

With that said, I would caution staying away from this author. Personally I think that there is some potential in the stories he creates and perhaps that the first person perspective just wasn’t right for this story. I would be interested in testing one of his other releases, if they were in third person.

Buy this Book at:   Smashwords

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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Author Tale's: Merita King

People often ask me how and why I started writing and it’s one of the questions writers get asked more often than any other.  Some of us know from childhood that we have to write, some of us want to but don’t know how until years later and others have slightly quirkier tales.  I am a combination of all three; I always knew I was good at writing and I wanted to write a book since I was a young teenager but I had neither the grammatical knowledge nor the sophisticated vocabulary with which to achieve this dream.  The few times I allowed my mother read my early attempts to get my imaginings down onto paper met with gales of laughter at my poor spelling and grammar and not a word about the plot or basic idea, which crushed any sense of being worthy of achieving such a dream so I gave up trying.

Now fast forward thirty five years to June 2011 and there was I, a devoted fan of a very well known science fiction movie character and the famous actor who portrays him.  I found his official facebook page and joined in with all the other adoring female fans.  Back in those days facebook pages had discussion boards and us gals spent hours on this actor’s page and the threads on his discussion board were many and varied.  He’s famous for playing several well known characters but my favourite was the science fiction character.  Fictional characters are always very real to me and I guess it’s because of my autism that I connect with them more easily than I do with real people.  This character quickly became my best friend.

One of the threads on the discussion board was from one gal who suggested we all try to write a brand new scene for this science fiction character.  It could be anything we wanted, so long as he was the main guy.  A few of the gals had a go and it was fun reading their scenes.  Most of them were pretty awful and were just their own personal lightly veiled erotic fantasies concerning this guy but it was fun to read them.  For ages it never occurred to me to try writing a scene; I’d been writing poetry for years and I’d done many poems inspired by this character and I always believed that’s all I could do.

Then one night, mid June 2011 as I sat reading a particularly bad scene by one gal, a thought leapt into my mind.

“I can do at least as good as this trash, if not better.  Dammit I’m gonna have a go.”

It was early evening by then and so I sat at the computer and began to write my extra scene for my favourite character.  I finally forced myself away from the computer at 4am after 5000 words and I knew I had only just scraped the surface of the story; it had miles to run yet.  A few days later, when it reached 20,000 words I sat back and sighed as I realised that this could run and run.  Another thought then trickled through my mind.

“This could be a book.  I’ve only just started and look how long it is, this could be long enough for a book.”

I then had a dilemma.  This character had already been invented; he was a trademark, he was copyrighted and I knew that if I wrote a book about an adventure with him and tried to publish it, I’d be some serious brown stuff.  I don’t have the money to risk being sued by a multi millionaire Hollywood movie director so I made a decision that changed my life.  I would start at the beginning again and take the story far away from anything to do with this already famous character.  The plot could remain the same and the peripheral characters could stay as they were, but my protagonist had to change.

And so Vincent was born and his story was told.  That first novel is dedicated to that fictional character who is still a great friend to me.  I owe him everything for it was my affection for him that helped me open the door to my destiny as a writer.  Eighteen months later, the fourth volume of the series was published and brought his story to a close.

I now have a new series beginning, the first volume of which will be out in February 2013 and I still look back in amazement at how the universe arranges things to make sure we follow our destined path.  It seems like such a tenuous chain of circumstances that encouraged me to write and how easily things might have been different.  Some might say luck or coincidence but I say no it’s not luck and there’s no such thing as coincidence.  The universe wanted me to be a writer and they used a fictional character to get me to do it; someone I loved and trusted and admired.  Who better?

Author Bio:

Merita King has loved the science fiction and fantasy genre in both books and movies since she was a young child.  She has been greatly inspired by years of watching movies and reading books and has wanted to make a contribution to this genre for many years.  Her stories all contain a strong spiritual thread  as she believes that spirituality is universal and crosses all boundaries.  She believes that the creative process is largely intuitive and can be very effectively blocked by too much pre-planning.  “Plot lines, characters and events all come to me intuitively,” she says, “and this makes the act of writing a constant pleasure.”  She is a psychic medium and lives alone in Hampshire, UK.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Excerpt from Prologue of Sanctum Angels: Shadow Havens Book 1 by Edenmary Black.

Hello everyone! I am Edenmary Black and I’m very pleased to be here today. Chatting about writing is always fun. When I have the opportunity to do so, a topic that always comes up is where authors find inspiration. The short answer is, “Everywhere!” One of the longer answers is through personal experience.
Although I am not supernatural, my debut e-novel, Sanctum Angels: Shadow Havens Book 1, opens with a scene in the heart of the Demesne, a powerful supernatural haven, where a young, male vampire named Saan, is fighting a mysterious illness. Of course, traditional literature often shows us that vampires are impervious to disease, which is why I wanted to create something different.
As a reader, I find villains, whose hearts are completely dark, to be less interesting than a those with a few redeeming qualities. Heroes who are purely good have always seemed less intriguing than those with a few dark secrets. When I began to create characters for Sanctum Angels and the e-books that follow in the series, I was fascinated with the physical imperfections a supernatural character might cope with. It was a departure from the norm that I really wanted to explore. While a number of possibilities came to mind, a personal experience hung in my memory.
On a bright morning in 2009, I rose early, dressed and took my dog walking, as I did most days. By the time I returned to my home, I was feeling warm. Aching a little, but unconcerned, I went on with the day and soon found myself coughing. Hacking, really, with a steadily climbing temperature. By around three in the afternoon, I was seated on an exam table, staring at my doctor. My joints were on fire and my eyes literally throbbed. A couple of hours later, I was armed with antiviral medications, antibiotics and orders to get into bed and stay there.
The diagnosis was influenza and I did not emerge from my home for another fourteen days for fear of infecting anyone else. During that time, I avoided my family, ate little and slept a lot. Influenza brings new meaning to the word, ‘uncomfortable,’ but one of the worst symptoms I experienced was the soaring fever that was far less responsive to medication than I’d hoped. At the fever’s heights, I was sure I glowed. When my temperature was on a downhill swing, I shook with chills. In my imagination, the fever became like wails from my besieged immune system. It was a battle for physical balance that I’m thankful to have won.
Months later, as I considered Saan, for Sanctum Angels, fever became one of his hallmark symptoms. I was writing what I knew, yet he would grapple with far more, shivering beneath his duvet. His symptoms would ultimately send his mother, Ilea, flying through the halls of her haven to confront her Mate, Sebastien, with a demand that he call for the help of his enemies, the fallen angels of the Sanctum.
I would not consider influenza a gift, yet, I could never dismiss the experience it gave me. My works are completely fictitious, but it’s my hope that anyone who has ever fought an illness or watched a loved one struggle in this way will relate to this part of my writing. It’s the beginning of the story, yet what these characters undergo influences the plot and many other characters as the tale unfolds. By the time I sat down at my computer to write Sanctum Angels, with Saan, Ilea and Sebastien at my shoulder, my imagination and a powerful memory had taken me to the young vampire’s rooms in the Demesne.
Thank you for having me on today, David. Hope everyone enjoys the excerpt from the Prologue of Sanctum Angels: Shadow Havens Book 1. At my website – – interested readers can find the entire Prologue and first chapter of Sanctum Angels: Shadow Havens Book 1, as well as passages from Sanctum Warriors: Shadow Havens Book 2 and Sanctum Retribution: Shadow Havens Book 3. Just click the ‘Excerpts,’ tab.

Happy reading,


Excerpt from Prologue of Sanctum Angels: Shadow Havens Book 1 by Edenmary Black.
For The Indie Ebook Review Site.
All rights reserved.

Ilea Galaurus pulled her skirts up, tucking her legs into the overstuffed brocade chair. Dragging it closer to the carved bed had been a struggle, but she’d been watching her son in the candlelit bedroom for hours, needing to be close. His pale features and occasional soft whimpers frightened her, demanding her vigilance, yet she was unable to do anything to help him.
Saan shivered despite the thick, ebony duvet covering his limbs. He rubbed his inflamed eyelids but remained unconscious. Although he’d only fallen ill three days ago, the fever had struck him like a hurricane. It seemed like something that could fell a human even though there was no possibility that Saan, the child of a daemon and a pureblood vampire, could be infected by any of the diseases a human would carry. The young male had grown hot and delirious, despite the efforts of the best daemon healers of the Demesne, who hadn’t seen anything like this illness. Although used to healing injuries, large and small, they’d never met fever. One had heard of an illness like this that could take a supernatural quickly, but nothing was known of a cure.
The daemon healers had looked to the Internet for answers but found few. Three deaths had been reported in Europe from an illness that could be the same. None of the stricken supernaturals had survived. Calls had crossed the Atlantic, from southwestern Pennsylvania to the capitals of Europe. Promises to share any information were exchanged, but time was trickling through an hourglass in Ilea’s heart. She knew her son might never regain consciousness. Death could take him this very night. The thought propelled her to his bedside for perhaps the hundredth time. Leaning over, moving the voluminous amber skirts of her long gown, she whispered his name and ran a fingertip across his blond eyebrows. Even so ill, he was handsome.
Perhaps you should lie down with him, my lady,” the only healer left in the bedroom suggested from behind her. “It might still his shivering.”
Ilea whirled on the young female. “Get out,” she said, but her words lacked fury. Instantly, she regretted the dismissal. The daemon healers had done as much as they were able. “Forgive me. Your name is Lily?”
The healer nodded shyly.
“Saan is….my only son and …”

…he’s dying in front of me…

“I understand, my lady,” the daemon healer named Lily replied. “I will go now. One of my sisters will return later.” After bobbing her head of light curls, she left quietly.
“Thank you,” Ilea said, turning back to Saan, searching his face for any sign of improvement. She sat on the bed’s edge to take his face in her hands. Just for a moment, Ilea saw the pupils of his beautiful, dark eyes. The whites had gone crimson, as if he were bleeding from some injury behind the bones of his face. His pale skin was hot and moist to her palms. Carefully, she dropped her hands and found to her shock that tiny bruises had formed on his pale cheeks exactly where her fingertips had been, leaving discolorations from the lightest touch.
Pulling the duvet gently back from Saan’s pallid chest, Ilea found bruises. Tiny smears of blood had formed over some. “Dear God,” she breathed. Looking at her own hands, she saw blood on her fingertips. Wiping them against her skirts, she flew to the door. Two huge vampiric warriors stood guard on either side of the doorway, a measure that Saan’s father, Sebastien Galaurus, the Demesne’s leader, had commanded. No one but Ilea, the healers and Saan’s sister, Iridea, would be permitted to cross the threshold. “Where is my Mate?” Ilea demanded.
“In his study, my lady,” the vampire answered instantly.
Ilea picked up the skirting of her gown and rushed through the richly carpeted halls of the elaborate underground Demesne haven she’d shared with her Mate for centuries. By the time she reached Sebastien’s study, her flaming hair had come undone from its tight chignon and her face had grown hot. Saan was dying and a tiny thought she’d kept buried for the past two nights would find Sebastien’s ear whether he wished to hear or not. Drawing breath, Ilea whipped the black double doors nearly from their hinges to stride to the dark, massive desk in front of her Mate. A small group of the Demesne’s vampire warriors were with him but they stepped swiftly from her path.
“Leave us,” she ordered.
The warriors of the Demesne were unused to taking orders from their leader’s Mate, whom they rarely saw, but left after Sebastien gave them a fast nod. Hearing his Mate’s pounding heart, Sebastien sat quickly, as if the air had been knocked from his lungs. “Has our son passed?” he asked quietly.
“He lives but he may well pass before the morning unless something is done,” Ilea gripped the edge of the desk and leaned over it, into her husband’s perfectly sculpted face.
“Call your brother at the Sanctum and seek his advice,” she commanded. “Ask him to send one of the angelic healers. It is the only thing that can save our son.”
Sebastien had thought this might be requested of him, but he had also expected Saan to recover, having his mother’s daemon blood and his own vampiric blood.
“Andrieu is not my brother. I cannot contact anyone at the Sanctum,” he said.
Ilea pulled her hand back and brought it forward in a mind-numbingly fast arc to connect with Sebastien’s jaw. Her Mate’s head bounced backward against the high back of his carved chair, yet he didn’t lift a hand. “You could not have heard what I asked,” Ilea said. “Call Andrieu and ask…no, Sebastien …beg him to send an angelic healer. Tonight.” Ilea’s eyes were changing to the silver swirls associated with strong emotion among daemons. “Do it,” she hissed.

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Author Bio:

Edenmary Black has been writing since she could clutch a pencil. She has always been fascinated with the mysteries of the paranormal and loves the question all writers answer when they pen fiction. For her, it's all about that magical, "What if?” When not working her keyboard, she enjoys long walks with her golden retriever, reading and spending time with her family, all of whom are male. She spends far too much on lingerie and is very, very weak for chocolate.

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